The SALIS Collection unveiled: Building an alcohol, tobacco and other drugs digital archive

First published: 09 May 2019 | Last updated: 12 June 2020

Aims and background

From 2003 onwards many Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drug (ATOD) libraries around the world have been closed. This led to the ATOD field losing key collections essential for historical research. The Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists international organisation (SALIS) became concerned about this and began to consider what they could do to ensure that these valuable collections and seminal texts were not lost to the communities needing access.


SALIS’ considerations led to them to a collaboration with The Internet Archive (IA) to create a digital collection of books focused on alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. SALIS members contribute books for scanning and entering into the ‘The SALIS Collection’ within the IA.  This is managed via a specialised database recording all books and reports submitted for digitization. SALIS membership includes core ATOD research and treatment organizations; some members are working towards ensuring publications from their organizations, such as the former Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario, Canada, are captured in the Collection.

Results/ outcome

The ‘SALIS Collection’ by 2016 had grown to over 900 documents. It includes key seminal, full-text books, reports, & documents. Its subjects include both legal and illegal drugs, the use and misuse of chemicals, the role of education and prevention, physical health and mental health aspects, drug policy, and more. It is international in its scope.

Once digitized, anyone can “check out” a digital copy of a book in the Collection.


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